My letter is for our guys this month. One of the goals of ACN is to provide networking opportunities for our membership. Our networks meet on a quarterly basis as part of membership. In fact, some of our more active networks meet monthly. Social isolation can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. Men in particular need to worker harder at this than us women to maintain those networks after retirement.
Dr. Richard S. Schwartz, a psychiatrist with McLean Hospital says, “Men acquire friends through shared experiences like sports, the military, and work.” When men retire many of those experiences ceases to exist. Loneliness can contribute to heart disease, depression and lower immune function. An article from Harvard Health talks about ways to combat loneliness through ongoing group dynamics such as men’s groups, walking clubs, golf, bowling, card or chess club or classes at an adult education center. I’d like to add some other possibilities like car clubs, motorcycle clubs and cooking classes. My local coffee shop has multiple men’s groups throughout the week. They don’t really call them men’s groups but every week there are coaches discussing soccer strategies, Bible studies, and just the old-fashion coffee sippers.
When my girlfriends and I were on a beach walk recently, we were talking about this very subject. We coined a phrase called “Spouse 2.0”. The men we knew needed to be busy doing something or helping others. My brother-in-law has fine-tuned this. He is now retired after 40+ years as an electrician and has at least four what he calls “girlfriends”. Apparently, he and his guy friends had talked about making sure that whomever was around would help out the others wives. My brother-in-law clears their driveways after winter snows and does odd job around their homes. My sister doesn’t miss a beat either and invites the “girlfriends” to family dinner nights. It’s just another way to stay active and socially engaged.
I haven’t been able to find the official citation for this statistic, but I’ve read that “social isolation at its worst can be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.” Whatever your pleasure, invite others along. It’s good for your health.
From the President’s desk to your home, invite an amazing friend for coffee.
We encourage you to get social and share the Amazing Care Network with your friends and family members by inviting them to connect with us through our monthly newsletters.
~ Dawn, ACN President (Learn more about Dawn HERE)